Under-Horse 'spend a Buck' Has the Last Laugh with a Victorious Run for the Roses
updated 05/20/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/20/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Then Mr. Diaz started getting bored. "I fished a lot, dove a lot, boated a lot—and made Johnny Walker Red about a quarter of a million dollars richer," he says. So in 1983 he bought some land and began to try his hand at horse racing. He also bought Spend a Buck (our friend above) at a bankruptcy sale for $12,500—scarcely mule feed these days in the sport of kings.
Spend a Buck developed two habits: biting people and winning races, usually in that order. In fact, the former became a harbinger of the latter, and on Derby Day Mr. Diaz was understandably upset when his colt hadn't put the bite on anybody. Then, happily, the three-year-old bay sank his teeth into a pony girl who was leading him across the paddock. Whereupon he went out and ran in the third fastest race in Derby history, winning by the biggest margin (5¼ lengths) since 1946. Diaz got $406,800 in prize money, and Spend a Buck got another good laugh. Oh, yes, the pony girl was given $100 for services rendered. She only smiled.